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History Of The Schoenstatt Movement in San Antonio, Texas

In 1962, the Schoenstatt spirituality came to the archdiocese of San Antonio with the arrival of four Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary to a new parish, St. Lawrence, the Martyr, in the far Southside of the city. These Schoenstatt Sisters, born in Germany, enduring the challenges of language and culture, quickly organized the new parish school.

Sr. Renata, school principal, immediately began the first girls youth group among the seventh and eighth grade girls. Groups for boys, couples and mothers soon developed as well. Out of love for the Blessed Mother, the men of the parish built first wayside shrine, a chapel, adjacent to the Schoenstatt Sisters residence down the street from the parish.

Through the 1970’s and 80’s, more groups were developed and the Shrine of Unity became a place of pilgrimage…Mass was often celebrated by the parish priests or visiting Schoenstatt Fathers.

In 1973, the young Schoenstatt community of girls youth, boys youth, mothers and couples, crowned their Mother as Queen of Unity with the petition that she would help them build a replica shrine of the Original Shrine in Germany for the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

In 1985, the centennial year of the Founder, Ft. Joseph Kentenich, the local Schoenstatt family was inspired to acquire the Father Eye as the first symbol for their future daughter shrine and as a gift in advance for his canonization.

In 1988, after twenty-six years of service to the parish, the Schoenstatt Sisters, due to a lack of vocations, decided to return to their provincial house and the Confidentia Shrine in Lamar, Texas. The doors of the Unity Shrine on Petaluma Street were permanently closed after the covenant day devotion on December 18, 1988.

For the next two years, the dedicated Schoenstatt members continued the monthly covenant devotion from one parish to another. It became apparent that the monthly gatherings needed to be consistently held in one specific place, until the property for a replica shrine was located and purchased. A very generous family offered some property to build a temporary wayside shrine. Through donations of funds and labor the second wayside shrine, named Fountain of Family Unity was built. Dedicated on April 29, 1990, by Archbishop Patricio Flores, the chapel became the new spiritual home where the Schoenstatt Family could continue to celebrate Covenant Day Masses, devotions and weekly rosaries.

In 1995, a generous benefactor offered to purchase the property for the future shrine when it was found. After years of searching for the “beautiful place” for a daughter shrine of our Mother and Queen, we came upon this beautiful 52-acre property, later named Mount Schoenstatt. The Schoenstatt family agreed that this was the long awaited place where the Blessed Mother would finally make her home in San Antonio.

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